©Deirdre Nansen McCloskey | COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL


Books by Deirdre McCloskey

BOOKS WRITTEN

(latest to earliest)
15 sole-authored, 1 co-authored.
[See also Books in Preparation and Projected at the end of this list]
Short books and long pamphlets indented and in small type.

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World. [vol. 2 of 4 on "The Bourgeois Era"] 2010, University of Chicago Press, 571 + xvi pp., as a trade book [reviewed in Books and Culture; National Review; New Statesman]. Chinese translation forthcoming, Shaanxi People's Press, late 2013. Winner of Business and Economic category at the Sharjah International Book Fair, 2011. جائزة اتصالات لكتاب الطفل تشارك في معرض بوك إكسبو أميركا

What made us modern, and rich, was a change in ideology, or "rhetoric." First in little Holland and then in Britain a new dignity and liberty for the middle class freed innovation. A unique wave of gadgets, and then a tsunami, raised incomes from $3 a day to $30 a day ... more

[co-authored with Stephen Ziliak] The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives. 2008, University of Michigan Press. Chps. 14-16 revised appear as "The Unreasonable Ineffectiveness of Fisherian 'Tests' in Biology, and Especially in Medicine." Biological Theory 4(1) 2009: 1-10. Widely reviewed; basis of "Brief for Statistics Experts Professors Deirdre M. McCloskey and Stephen T. Ziliak in Support of Respondent" before the US Supreme Court, Matrixx v Siracusano, Nov 12, 2010, No. 09-1156, oral argument, Jan 10, 2011.

Existence, arbitrary statistical significance, philosophical possibilities uncalibrated to the sizes of important effects in the world are useless for science. Yet in medical science, in population biology, in much of sociology, political sciences, psychology, and economics, in parts of literary study . . . more

The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce. [vol. 1 of 4 on "The Bourgeois Era"] 2006, University of Chicago Press, as a trade book, 616 + xviii pp. (Reviewed by Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2006; New York Times Sunday Book Review, July 30; Time Literary Supplement, November; New York Review of Books, Dec. 21). Chapters 8 and 9 are reprinted with minor revisions as "Kärleken och bourgeoisie," pp. 113-154 in Niclas Berggren, ed., Mrknad och moral (Stockholm: Ratio Förlag, 2008). Honorable Mentions in Finance and Economics, Professional & Scholarly Publishers Division of the Assn. of American Publishers, 2006. The volumes 3-4 (Vol. 2 is Bourgeois Dignity mentioned above), and a short book summarizing the subject, are also under contract to the Press. Spanish translation forthcoming by Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE, Fondo), Mexico City.

The story of "The Bourgeois Era" (the six-book series of which this is the first volume) is of the rise of a prudential rhetoric in the Netherlands and England in the 17th century, its triumph in the Scottish Enlightenment and American colonial thought in the 18th... more

The Secret Sins of Economics. Prickly Paradigm Pamphlets (Marshall Sahlins, ed.). University of Chicago Press, 2002, 60 pp. Translated into Persian, 2006. To be translate into Japanese, 2009 by Chikuma Shobo, Ltd.

It's not its abstraction or its mathematics or its statistics or its conservative slant that are the sins of economics. The two real and mortal sins are: (1) Use of mere existence theorems and (2) use of mere "statistical significance" (t tests at the 5% level, for example) to draw ... more

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[Edited by Stephen Ziliak, with an introduction by him and a short Preface by McCloskey] Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey. Brighton: Elgar.Economists of the Twentieth Century Series. 2001.

Selection of the best articles and chapters on historical economics and the rhetoric of economics by Deirdre McCloskey.

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How to Be Human*   *Though an Economist. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Advice to young economists about maintaining morale and integrity — and getting the science done while retaining one's common sense.

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Crossing: A Memoir. University of Chicago Press, 1999. Named December 1999 among the New York Times "Notable Books of 1999." Finalist, Lambda Literary Awards, 1999. Excerpts reprinted in Reason magazine (December 1999) and in Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine (Jan 30, 2000). Excerpt ("Yes, Ma'am") reprinted in Bloom, ed., Arlington Reader, 2nd ed., 2006. Excerpts published in J. Ames. ed., Sexual Metamorphosis (New York: Vintage 2005); and in Kessler, ed., Voices of Wisdom, 6th ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson, 2006). Japanese translation, Bungie Shunju Ltd. 2001. Italian translation under contract with Transeuropa Libri (July 2007), said to be forthcoming. License for a Turkish translation, Eflatun Yayinevi publisher, issued February 2010.

An account of McCloskey's gender change, 1995-1997.

Excerpt, U Chicago Press | Excerpt, Reason | Reviews | Order info

The Vices of Economists; The Virtues of the Bourgeoisie. University of Amsterdam Press and University of Michigan Press, 1997. Dutch translation, 1997, Harry van Dalen. Japanese translation, with new preface for Japanese readers by McCloskey, Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, Ltd., 2002, reprinted in second 5000 press run, 2009, with a new Preface, "A Liberal Economic Science in a Liberal Society" (1000-word essay).

Existence theorems and statistical "significance" and an ambition for detailed social engineering are characteristic vices of economists.

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Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics. Cambridge University Press, 1994. 446 pp.

Knowledge is persuasion, that is, knowledge is rhetorical. McCloskey marshals technical epistemology to show that the positivist program in economics lacks foundations and should be abandoned. She answers directly many of the conventionally Methodological critics of her The Rhetoric of Economics.

Chp. 10: "The rhetoric of mathematical formalism" | Order info

If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise. University of Chicago Press, 1990. Spanish translation Si eres tan listo: La narrativa de los expertos en economia (Madrid: Alianza 1993); trans. Graciela Sylvestre and Victoriano Martin. Chinese Translation 2004 (?), Chien Hua Publishing. (Chapter 11 reprinted in Daniel Klein, ed., What Do Economists Contribute? (Macmillan Press 1998 and New York University Press 1999).

Human affairs are deeply unpredictable for one powerful reason: if they were not, fortunes could be made. McCloskey here pursues the logic of rational expectations and modern finance into its wider cultural implications, showing that storytelling is fundamental to economics, but strictly limited by the principle of . . . more

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British Historical Society

Econometric History. Macmillan U.K., 1987. For the British Economic History Society. Trans. into Japanese 1992. (Image: Courtesy British Historical Society.)

The "new," "cliometric" history is here surveyed, explained, and defended.

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The Rhetoric of Economics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985. Over 50 reviews in New York Review of Books, Village Voice, and numerous other scholarly journals. British edition: Wheatsheaf 1986. Italian translation: La Retorica dell' Economia: Scienza e letturatura nel discorso economico, with an introduction by Augusto Graziani (Torino: Giulio Einaudi, 1988; trans. Bianca Maria Testa; series Nuovo Politecnico no. 165). Spanish (Alianza, 1990); Japanese (Harvest Sha 1992). Second Revised Edition, 1998. Hungarian translation, Europa Publishing, said to be forthcoming (doubtful); Chinese translation (by Lei Shi), Beijing: Economic Science Press, 2000.

Economists are poets/ But don't know it. Economic modeling uses metaphors, not as mere ornaments or elucidations but as the meat of the science (just as in physics or history). In her famous book McCloskey illustrates the point with trenchant wit.

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The Writing of Economics. NY: Macmillan, 1986. A 90-page libellus from the article "Economical Writing" below. Second Revised Edition as Economical Writing. Prospect Heights, IL.: Waveland Press, 1999.

"Be clear." But how exactly? McCloskey, in a widely used textbook concerning writing (of all things) economics reveals the secrets of the trade.

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The Applied Theory of Price. Macmillan, 1982. Second revised edition, 1985. International student edition 1985; Spanish trans. Teoria de Precios Aplicada (Mexico: CECSA: Compania Editorial Continental, S. A.), 1990. Czech trans. Aplikovaná Teorie Ceny (Praha: Státni pedagogické, 1993). Stephen Ziliak and I plan a third edition, in progress spring 2012, in collaboration with graduate students at UIC.

Still regarded as one of the classic microeconomic texts of the Chicago School (with books by Friedman [pêre et fils], Stigler, and Landsburg), it proved to be "too difficult" for undergraduate use, but has been used freely since then to set problems for serious courses trying to teach the art of economic thinking and to prepare ...more.

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Enterprise and Trade in Victorian Britain: Essays in Historical Economics. Allen and Unwin, 1981. Reprinted 1993 by Gregg Revivals (Godstone, Surrey, England). Reprinted again 2003 by Routledge (Oxford).

The methods of international and industrial economics are here applied to the British case, the first work of its kind. A pioneering study, twice reprinted.

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Economic Maturity and Entrepreneurial Decline: British Iron and Steel, 1870-1913 Harvard Economic Studies. Harvard University Press, 1973. (David A. Wells Prize.)

The first book in the bringing of "cliometrics" to Britain, and among the first to use the Solow residual (and the price dual) for an industry study, it shows that British businessmen in the iron and steel industry did not "fail" in the late nineteenth century. On the contrary, they continued to lead the world.

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BOOKS EDITED
(in chronological order) 2 sole editor; 5 co-edited

Economic History

Essays on a Mature Economy: Britain after 1840. Methuen, 1971; and Princeton University Press, 1971. Reprinted Routledge, 2006. Order info

[Edited with George Hersh, Jr.] A Bibliography of Historical Economics to 1980. Cambridge University Press, 1990. Order info

[Edited with Roderick Floud] The Economic History of Britain, 1700-Present. 2 vols. Cambridge University Press, 1981. Order info

[Edited with Roderick Floud] The Economic History of Britain, 1700-Present. Second revised edition (3 vols.). Cambridge University Press, 1994. Order info | Reviews | Related

Second Thoughts: Myths and Morals of U.S. Economic History Oxford University Press, 1992. Order info

Rhetoric of Inquiry

[Edited with John Nelson and Allan Megill] The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs. University of Wisconsin Press, 1987. Translated into Korean by Korean University Press, 2003. Order info

[Edited with Arjo Klamer and Robert Solow] The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric Cambridge University Press, 1988. Order info

Economic Method:
{in progress}

{[with George DeMartino]. Oxford Handbook on Professional Ethics for Economists under contract with the Oxford University Press, being assembled}


Full length book commentaries

On Bourgeois Dignity (continued from above): What made us modern, and rich, was a change in ideology, or "rhetoric." First in little Holland and then in Britain a new dignity and liberty for the middle class freed innovation. A unique wave of gadgets, and then a tsunami, raised incomes from $3 a day to $30 a day and beyond. In her brilliant, engaging survey of what we thought we knew about the shocking enrichment since 1776, McCloskey shows that the usual materialist explanations don't work---coal, slavery, investment, foreign trade, surplus value, imperialism, division of labor, education, property rights, climate, genetics. Ranging from Adam Smith to the latest theories of economic growth, she details what went wrong with the routine explanations. The most important secular event since the domestication of plants and animals depended on more than routine. It arose from liberties around the North Sea achieved in the civil and anti-imperial wars from 1568 to 1688, and above all from a resulting revaluation of bourgeois life. In recent decades China and then India have revalued their business people, and have thereby given hundreds of millions of people radically fuller lives. The modern world began in northwestern Europe, in the same way: ideas led. Bourgeois Dignity reshapes our thinking about economic history. It will require a reshaping of a good deal of other history as well, turning the story of our times away from the materialism typical of Marxist or economic approaches. It introduces a humanistic science of the economy-"humanomics"-directing attention to meaning without abandoning behavior, using literary sources without ignoring numbers, combining the insights of the human and the mathematical sciences.

On The Cult of Statistical Significance (continued from above): Existence, arbitrary statistical significance, philosophical possibilities uncalibrated to the sizes of important effects in the world are useless for science. Yet in medical science, in population biology, in much of sociology, political sciences, psychology, and economics, in parts of literary study, there reigns the spirit of the Mathematics or Philosophy Departments (appropriate in their own fields of absolutes). The result has been a catastrophe for such sciences, or former sciences. The solution is simple: get back to seeking oomph. It would be wrong, of course, to abandon math or statistics. But they need every time to be put into a context of How Much, as they are in chemistry, in most biology, in history, and in engineering science.

On The Bourgeois Virtues (continued from above): The story of "The Bourgeois Era" (the six-book series under contract to the University of Chicago Press of which this is the first volume) is of the rise of a prudential rhetoric in the Netherlands and England in the 17th century, its triumph in the Scottish Enlightenment and American colonial thought in the 18th century, and its decline after 1848 from, as Shaw once called it, the Great Conversion. An ethics of the virtues, as old as Aristotle and as new as feminist ethics, provides a way out of the growing self-hatred of the bourgeoisie. "Bourgeois virtue" is not a contradiction in terms. Economists are recognizing that virtue underlies a market economy; economic historians have long understood so in the lives of Quakers and the vital few. What the social sciences have not recognized since the 18th century and its notion of doux commerce is that a market economiy can underlie the virtues. Not all virtues. Some virtues — in fact the ones we celebrate in philosophy and myth — are pagan or Christian, aristocratic and plebian. We need new philosophies and myths, new readings of the ancient virtues, to suit a world in which we are all now bourgeois.

On The Secret Sins of Economics (continued from above): It's not its abstraction or its mathematics or its statistics or its conservative slant that are the sins of economics. The two real and mortal sins are: (1) Use of mere existence theorems and (2) use of mere "statistical significance" (t tests at the 5% level, for example) to draw conclusions about the economics world. (1) is especially prevalent in the highest-prestige journals; (2) is rampant everywhere. Neither makes any scientific sense — they are literally nonsense — and both have diverted economics from serious scientific work.

On If You're So Smart ... (continued from above): Human affairs are deeply unpredictable for one powerful reason: if they were not, fortunes could be made. McCloskey here pursues the logic of rational expectations and modern finance into its wider cultural implications, showing that storytelling is fundamental to economics, but strictly limited by the principle of If You're So Smart ... Why Aren't You Rich? The book is the narrative mate to the metaphorical The Rhetoric of Economics. Economists are novelists, as the other book said they are poets. The two logics mutually limit what economics can do by way of social engineering and recommend a more modest and more humanistic science.

On The Applied Theory of Price (continued from above): Still regarded as one of the classic microeconomic texts of the Chicago School (with books by Friedman [pêre et fils], Stigler, and Landsburg), it proved to be "too difficult" for undergraduate use, but has been used freely since then to set problems for serious courses trying to teach the art of economic thinking and to prepare for graduate comprehensive exams. Its difficult is not the formal mathematical difficulty, as in the standard graduate textbooks, but its insistence that the student actually learn to think like an economist.

BOOKS IN PREPARATION, AND PROJECTED

in descending order of readiness
{...} = full manuscript available now or reasonably soon;
{{...}} = not fully drafted, but outlines or partial MS available
{{{...}}} = projected, at present mere gleams for the long-term, 5-10 years out
    Virtually Complete
  1. {Arjo Klamer, Deirdre McCloskey, and Stephen Ziliak, The Economic Conversation: A First Text. To be published electronically late 2011.}

    Website | Preface to Students | Preface to Teachers | A Trialogue | Contents
    Partially Drafted
  2. {The Treasured Bourgeoisie: How Innovation Became Virtuous, 1600-1800}, Vol. 3 of four in The Bourgeois Era, under contract to the University of Chicago Press. An early draft is available at this site (an older draft mixed with other volumes has been available from Jan. 2009.) Project submission, late 2011.
    The bourgeoisie didn't merely rise in numbers, but more importantly in the estimation of their fellows. A "Bourgeois Revaluation" overtook Holland and then Britain from Shakespeare's time to Adam Smith's, which made the modern world.
  3. {{The New Applied Theory of Price}} updating of the 1985 The Applied Theory of Price, with graduate students in Economics and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, intended to be submitted for publication late 2012

  4. {{Bourgeois Rhetoric: Language and Interest in the Age of the Industrial Revolution}}, Vol. 4 of four of The Bourgeois Era, under contract to the University of Chicago Press. Some chapters have been available since January 2009 at deirdremccloskey.org. A fuller draft will be available in 2012,with a projected submission date of late 2012, published late 2013.
    Language is neglected in economics — for example, in the explanation of the Industrial Revolution. The ideological and conversational shift from 1700 to 1848 is here examined.
  5. {{God and the Ordinary Business of Life: Sermons on a Christian Economics.}} Sample chapters available at deirdremccloskey.org.

  6. {{{The Treason of the Clerisy, 1848-2000: How the Bourgeoisie Became Inauthentic}}}}, co-authored with John S. McCloskey, Vol. 5 of six, if it happens, of The Bourgeois Era, a few chapters drafted. Parts of it might be included in The Treasured Bourgeoisie.
    After 1848 the artists and intellectuals of Europe turned against innovation and the bourgeoisie. Why? Their turn has lasted to the present. Why?
  7. [co-edited with Walter Benn Michaels and graduate students in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago] {{{ Reading the Economy: An Anthology of Literary Works in English from Chaucer to Maya Angelou}}}, sketched.
    Designed for the bed-table of the bourgeois(e) bleared with trade, and for the growing number of courses in English and Economics nationwide, the anthology selects poetry, short stories, plays, literary essays, and chapters of novels re-presenting the economy: Frost's "Two Tramps at Mudtime," for example, or Gaskell on British industrialization, or Miller's "Death of a Salesman." It teaches economic ways of thinking to literary people and opens the literary world to economists and calculators. 800 pages.
  8. {{{co-edited, with Stephen Ziliak, How Big is Big: An Anthology of Reflections on Statistical Significance, 1907 to the Present. Proposal under review the University of Michigan Press.}}}

Projected, Imagined
  1. {{{ The Good Bourgeois: How We Became Rich }}}, a single-volume and intended-to-be popular version of the four other books above under contract to the University of Chicago Press on the bourgeois virtues: The Bourgeois Era.

  2. {{{ Economie: A Literary Economics}}}
    A brief book, some 150 pages, about the economy in literature and economics in the discourse of literary leftism. It will introduce literary people to a conversation in scientific economics that they stopped attending to in the middle of the 19th century. Topics: "economy" as metaphor in literary studies; the economy as a subject for literary works (e.g. Hard Times; Frost on farming; naturalism, as in Zola and Dreiser); left, right, and middle views on how capitalism functions; what happened in economic history (e.g. trade unions are not responsible for the American standard of living); globalization, postcolonialism, and free-market feminism.
  3. {{{The Prudent and Faithful Peasant: An Essay on Pre-Modern History}}}
    Using the essays in section 4 above on medieval open fields as a core, showing the workings of prudence modified by other virtues in olden times. It challenges the claim by Marx and Weber that rationality is peculiarly modern and the claim by materialists that religious motives have no grip on the economy. 350 pages in MS.
  4. {{{The Success of British Capitalism}}}
    Gathering and extending my work early and late, and reviewing the literature since then, against the persistent but strange assertion that Britain has failed economically. 350 pages in MS.